Indie-pop has been taken by the lo-fi, female fronted, joyful retro style, and the trend seems quite far to reach its climax. But it is hard to complain when the results are as good and pleasant as this highly anticipated debut album by Cults, the band leaded by Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin. What we already knew from them was promising, what we saw at Primavera Sound Festival was convincing. And finally, their first full LP, although not ground-breaking, closes the circle: Cults is a real band with a extraordinary talent of encapsulating unforgettable and cheerful melodies into indie-pop pills.
"Cults", the album, opens with the "big guns": "Abducted", "Go Outside", "You Know What I Mean" and "Most Wanted". Four consecutive flawless hits. Even if your music tastes are far from indie-pop, you have to admit these are perfect pop tunes. One could say these songs aren't new, being the tunes that feeded the fire and buzz on the band. It is true, and there's no surprise effect then, but what the hell? The four are terrific, and it should be applauded they didn't distributed wisely within the album to give a sense of consistency. They prefer to demonstrate there's plenty more to listen here.
The rest of the record keeps the airy vibe, devoted to the early sixties and the surf-rock style, but capable to sound modern and fresh. There's no song you could consider as a filler. Just a feeling of repetition on how the songs are done (the breezy beach feeling never abandons you), but luckily the record length, clocking in at barely half an hour, saves it from the risk of getting tiring. Sugar and sweetness, yes, but without exceeding the dose.
Aside from the initial "fab four", I would highlight "Never Heal Myself", where Madeline Follin's voice reaches a deeper level of suggestiveness (same as the slightly poisoned and darkened lyrics), and "Bumper" where they duet for an enchanting, sing-a-long tune with a charming, not taking themselves so seriously, climax. I'm sure that after a few more spins other songs will be added to the list. "Cults", like Tennis' "Cape Dory", shows a band with whom they share a considerable amount of similarities, shows a band establishing a signature sound. An impressive achievement for a debut.
"Cults" is a great short album for summertime, full of pop gems, a sense of nostalgia and a peculiar vibe. Some of their songs will be listed on the ranks at the end of the year, and the album itself will contend for pop album of 2012, if that category exists. More importantly, marks an excellent starting point for this young band.